International Marketing

FAQ Index



    Why export Illinois food and agriculture-based products?

    Increasingly, companies compete in a global marketplace. Many must rely on foreign as well as domestic markets to maintain profits. Even small-to-medium-sized companies are recognizing the need to look beyond traditional markets and are finding their niches in the world marketplace. International marketing opens doors to lucrative, exciting and innovative opportunities.

    Ho​w can the Illinois Department of Agriculture help?

    Since 1968, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has actively and aggressively engaged in international market development and product promotion for the state's food and agribusiness sectors. Headquartered in Springfield, the Department maintains offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City to promote Illinois products worldwide.

    Many of the Department's services complement other public and private market development efforts. The Department maintains close contacts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service to help Illinois firms gain access to federal marketing programs. Illinois' Agriculture Department is a member of the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA (formerly MIATCO), which helps coordinate market development programs for processed food products from 12 Midwestern states. The Department also works in partnership with many commodity organizations' market development programs.

    What international marketing services does the Department offer?

    • Promotional events
      The Department manages an active schedule of promotional events each year. International trade exhibitions, inbound and outbound trade missions, buyers missions, as well as restaurant and in-store promotions are just some of the ways Illinois companies can introduce products and heighten visibility internationally. In addition, at many large international trade shows, Illinois companies can obtain booth space in an Illinois exhibit. Department-sponsored exhibits provide companies an economical way to participate in major promotional events.

    • Trade missions
      Illinois' Agriculture Department arranges and hosts trade missions to and from foreign countries to help Illinois companies meet prospective international clients. Companies can use these missions to negotiate agreements for product distribution and to discuss licensing arrangements, joint ventures, market research or other business possibilities.

    • Export assistance
      Companies may obtain from the Department useful advice for responding to a variety of challenges related to international trade. Available advice covers topics such as export procedures, import requirements, top markets as well as help developing export marketing plans.

    • Trade leads
      The Department develops and processes trade leads from international inquirers. Leads are distributed to Illinois companies through the agency's database, which is continually updated and revised.

    • Seminars
      Informational seminars are sponsored by the Department in cooperation with trade associations and other state and federal agencies to assist Illinois companies in expanding their exporting efforts.

    • Hosting international buyers
      International visitors and buying teams are hosted regularly by the Department. Staff arranges meetings between international buyers and Illinois companies and provides information and logistical assistance to bring buyers and sellers together.

    What are the functions of the Department's international offices?

    Each of the Department's foreign offices is staffed with professionals who provide the following services:

    • Organize and host trade missions.
    • Provide market information and consulting services.
    • Participate in trade shows, catalog shows and other promotions.
    • Originate trade leads.
    • Work with embassies and Foreign Agricultural Service offices.

    Where are the Department's international offices located?

    Hong Kong Office
    Illinois Department of Agriculture
    Room 2808, Wu Chung House
    213 Queen's Road East
    Hong Kong
    Telephone: 011.852.2.504.0123
    FAX: 011.852.2.576.5766    

    Download our brochure for Asia​:



    Mexico Office
    Illinois Department of Agriculture
    Paseo de la Reforma
    265, Piso 14
    Col. Cuauhtemoc
    06500 Mexico, D.F.
    Telephone: (011)(525)555-33-5174
    FAX: (011)(525)555-33-5163 

    Download our brochure for Latin America and the Carribean:


    What marketing publications are available from the Department?

    Illinois Food and Agribusiness Guide: A comprehensive guide to Illinois processors and suppliers; available on our webpage.

    Marketing Perspectives: An electronic monthly newsletter featuring international notes, upcoming events and promotions, international trade news and domestic marketing news.

    Is there a charge for these publications?

    No, all the publications are free.

    Market Access Program

    The Market Access Program (MAP), formerly the Market Promotion Program, uses funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to help U.S. producers, exporters, private companies, and other trade organizations finance promotional activities for U.S. agricultural products. The MAP encourages the development, maintenance, and expansion of commercial export markets for agricultural commodities. Activities financed include consumer promotions, market research, technical assistance, and trade servicing.

    Branded Program

    This cost-share funding program provides financial assistance to help Midwestern food and agricultural exporters promote their products in international markets. Participants in this federally-funded program receive 50% cost reimbursement for a variety of overseas marketing and promotional expenses.

    USDA Foreign Agriculture Service

    The Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) offers a number of programs for individuals or companies who plan to export their agriculture product, including: export counseling, trade shows, trade leads, U.S. suppliers lists, foreign buyer lists and foreign market research. FAS also provides a number of programs to help U.S. exporters of agriculture products.

    For more information, contact:

    Illinois Department of Agriculture
    Bureau of Marketing and Promotion
    P.O. Box 19281
    State Fairgrounds
    Springfield, IL 62794-9281

    TELEPHONE: (217) 782-8110
    TDD: 866-287-2999
    FAX: 217-524-5960